On the Edge: Engineering Reference in Solid Edge

10 Mar, 2006 By: Russell Brook Cadalyst

Calculation-driven design tools remove the guesswork.

Most engineers either design based on experience and then test their designs with prototypes, or they use engineering calculations and formulas to predict design suitability. Regardless of approach, the Engineering Reference feature in Solid Edge provides access to powerful calculation-driven design tools that reduce the need for costly physical prototypes. As a result, moving engineering costs to a much earlier phase in the product lifecycle reduces production costs.

Calculation- and Formula-Driven Design
Engineering Reference is a calculation- and formula-driven design tool for engineers and designers of machinery with design components such as shafts, cams, gears and springs (figure 1). Engineering Reference embeds engineering reference information within Solid Edge to help engineers design by function as well as form. Fully integrated with Solid Edge, it is designed to preserve the engineer's design intent. This feature allows Solid Edge users to employ engineering calculations to automatically create mechanically correct parts and reuse knowledge-based engineering principles.

Figure 1. Engineering Reference tool.

Automatic Component Modeling
Systems design places additional emphasis on the function of a product and how its components interact with each other, which enhances productivity by reusing knowledge already captured during the design process or within existing engineering design principles. Engineering Reference is accessible through a new tab on the EdgeBar. The tool uses mechanical engineering rules that encapsulate machine design theory to generate parametric 3D parts. It automatically creates Solid Edge part models based on engineering formulas and application service conditions of the components.

If a design change is required, users edit the part by returning to the Engineering Reference where the operating conditions and parameters are changed and the model automatically updates. Knowledge captured in the component design is then used to quickly update the model.

Common Parts in Machine Design
You can simply choose the component type from the EdgeBar and enter the relevant design parameters in dialog box. Engineering Reference supports industry standards including ANSI, DIN and JIS, and it helps engineers design, select and strength-check a broad range of common machinery components, including

  • Cams
  • Shafts
  • Spur gears
  • Bevel gears
  • Extension springs
  • Compression springs

In this exercise you will become familiar with Engineering Reference interface. Any values used are purely to help you become acquainted with carrying out a design calculation.

1. Start a new part or assembly. Choose the last tab from the Solid Edge EdgeBar -- Engineering Reference. You will see the different types of components that Engineering Reference can help you design (figure 2). For this exercise, double-click on Shafts to design a new shaft.

Figure 2. Available part types.

2. The Shaft Designer dialog box opens, and you input your desired parameters or sizes (figure 3).

Figure 3. The Shaft Designer dialog box.

3. Next, click on the Materials button. Choose steel, or any other material, from the drop-down menu (figure 4).

Figure 4. Available materials values.

4. Make some changes to some of the parameters. Change the (d) diameter to 25 and (L) length to 35. Leave the support number at 2 and the Element (the number of steps in the shaft) at 6. Now add a 10 mN force to the XZ Plane (figure 5).

Figure 5. Change the parameters.

5. Choose the Calculate button to view the results. At this point, you can check the figures to see if your part is strong enough for its intended use (figure 6).

Figure 6. View the calculate results.

6. Now simply click on the Create button on the bottom edge. Solid Edge will automatically create the shaft for you (figure 7).

Figure 7. The finished shaft part.

7. After the shaft is placed in an assembly file, you can edit it with the Engineering Reference tools used to create the part. Select your part from pathfinder, click the right mouse button to select the shortcut menu and select Edit in Solid Edge Shaft Designer (figure 8).

Figure 8. The Edit in Solid Edge Shaft Designer command.

Look at some of the other parts that you can design with Engineering Reference. They all work in a similar manner; simply substitute the default values for your own. Don't forget to add a load, calculate to check your results and then create your parts. Engineering Reference is intuitive and will save you time when designing and creating your components.

See you On the Edge next month.

About the Author: Russell Brook

Russell Brook

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